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10/17/20




UNITED STATES AIR FORCE BAND-AIRMEN OF NOTE/2020 Jazz Heritage Series: Whew, talk about having a wingman! The Air Force big band kicks it out with the skills they use to fly, and this time around they are joined by John Fedchock, Chris McBride and Randy Brecker, kicking it out on originals by the guests. Damn, whatever upheaval is going on in the government, it isn't affecting the armed forces any. These sets are intended to be radio broadcasts but somehow I got lucky and got on their mailing list a few years ago for the discs. It makes me feel like a smarty pants millennial that I get to hear this first. Big band fans have to come across this one way or the other. Smoking!

ANN DuHAMEL/Ruckblick: Forward thinking classical pianist DuHamel wanted her debut record to really make an impact so she commissioned several composers to reimagine works by Brahms and come up with something new. There's no reprise of his lullaby here, and there's nothing to lull you to sleep either. Player and composers are in synch here as this set opens the ears to progressive possibilities that still lurk within.
(Furious Artisans 6821)

PAUL WINTER/Light of the Sun: Opening up with one of the most well known sax riffs in jazz/new age, this new set from Winter has something different to it. It's a subtle difference the casual listener might not notice, but after all the sets where it's his name that's out front, this is the first set he's recorded where he's the upfront, featured soloist. Mixing new and old songs, new and old friends, the quality is it's usual high octane throughout and our 80 year old friend sounds like he's playing with a new invigoration. (Hell, on "Sun Singer" he doesn't sound a day over 45). This tour de force wouldn't be complete with the also ever youthful Denny Zeitlin turning up for a duet on his own "Hymn". An absolute gold standard jazz/new age recording.
(Living 56)

JULIAN GERSTEIN/Littoral Zone: Kind of an inside out take on Bernie Krause's "Fish Wrap", instead of sampling real sounds and editing them together, Gerstein is playing real percussion, with some coloration from some pals, to pay tribute to his fave water life forms. Talk about your dandy diversions. It takes a real pro to make this something more than something you can sell at aquarium gift shops and our boy goes the distance here. This is a wonderfully wacky thing that's a must for when your ears hit the off ramp to ditch the beaten path.

PHIL LEADBETTER & the All Stars of Bluegrass/Swing for the Fences: They are all stars and they swing for the fences. While it's a top shelf back porch record, don't let it's laid back fašade fool you, it's firing on all eight. Tasty contemporary bluegrass that's right in the traditional pocket adding up to a delightful time warp that just carries you away from the daily stresses. Killer stuff.
(Pinecastle 1240)

PETER VELESKA & Blues Train/Grass Ain't Greener on the Other Side: A standard bearer of Jersey white boys with the blues, Veleska sheds past eclectic flourishes and focuses on what the people want here---all night choogle. A knowledgeable fist pumping bar room blaster, this cat and his bunch deliver the goods in all night fashion. Hot and heavy throughout.

JUNK MAGIC/Compass Confusion: You've got to be a real malcontent to think this hits it out of the park. A follow up record that took 16 years to arrive, this bunch of soundscapes from Minnesota sounds Brooklyn all the way. Steered by a cat that's no novice at veering toward the margins, it's deeply progressive stuff that takes it's beats to the bytes in a big way.
(Pyroclastic 12)

DVD SUPPLEMENT
THE GREAT season one: In which we find that all of us who think that history is a great teaching opportunity that isn't used right, we see millenials taking up the cause to touch up history, make it palatable to their tastes and proceed to deliver the goods in a way that's understandable and relatable. The first season of the show that shows how Catherine the Great eventually took over Russia is a hoot and educational as well. Change with the times and learn about the past so it doesn't have to be repeated to dismal results. This presentation is easily as sassy as star Elle Fanning's smile.
(Paramount)

Volume 44/Number 354
October 17, 2020
MIDWEST RECORD
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2020 Midwest Record


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